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Swaraj to make statement on Indo-Pak ties on Dec 10

Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj with BJP MP Shawanaz Hussain addressing a press conference in New Delhi on April 30, 2013. (Photo: IANS)
Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj with BJP MP Shawanaz Hussain addressing a press conference in New Delhi on April 30, 2013. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: Upon her returns from Islamabad, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on December 10 will be making a statement on the latest developments that have taken place in diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan.

This was informed to the members of the Upper House on Monday after they raised their concerns over the latest developments.

The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan, accompanied by Foreign Secretaries of their respective nations, met in Bangkok on Sunday and held discussions on various issues of mutual interest, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.

Both the nations agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement, stated a joint press statement issued following the meeting.

Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on December 8 to attend the Heart of Asia Security Conference. She will be accompanied by foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

Taking up legislative business, the House decided to refer the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill to its one of the Select Committees for examination.

The Bill makes giving of a bribe and offence for individuals and commercial organisation, and enlarges the definition of taking a bribe. There are some issues that require consideration, which can be found here.

Discussion on the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill was initiated in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill prohibits the reporting of a corruption-related disclosure if it falls under any 10 categories of information.

Members of the opposition argued that the Bill should be referred to a committee for detailed scrutiny and should be passed after taking the House into confidence.

During the debate on the Bill, several members pointed out that while the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that the 10 prohibited categories are modelled on those under the RTI Act, such a comparison may not be appropriate.

Unlike the RTI Act, disclosures under the Bill are not made public, but in confidence to a high-level constitutional or statutory authority.

A discussion was also held on the situation in Nepal and the state of Indo-Nepal relations. The discussion was initiated by Pavan Verma, while Swaraj replied at the end of the debate.

The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Upper House. The Bill specified territorial jurisdiction of courts for filing cases of cheque bouncing. The Bill has been passed by the Lower House previously.

Meanwhile, four bills – Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill and Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill – were introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The Standing Committee examining the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 submitted its report.

The amendment is proposed to provide that the Leader of Opposition recognised as such in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, the leader of the single largest opposition party in that House shall be a Member of the Selection Committee. The Committee is of the view that the amendment is both necessary and appropriate and accordingly recommends it.

The Lok Sabha passed the High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill.

The Lower House also took up a discussion on the drought situation in various parts of the country.